Is the concept of being kind outdated?
With all the violence occurring in the world today, it would be easy to get depressed and wonder what will become of the human race. Yet, amongst all the crime, warring and bloodshed, we are consistently inspired by people – and even animals – being kind and showing compassion. They shine out and draw us in.
It’s heartening to think that it might only take a small kindness to lift someone’s mood a little – or a lot; to restore faith in human nature and bring people closer together.
I like the idea of random acts of kindness
But it got me thinking… Why do acts of kindness need to be random?
Why can’t kindness be planned and organised too?
I thought of a few kind acts that I’d like to invest in and have written them up in my diary so I make kindness a greater focus. I jumped online to look for more suggestions. Some of these suggestions made me look up the definition of kindness – not because they were bad but because I didn’t believe they could be called kindnesses!
Things like “Let a car merge in front of you and do it with a smile.” Or, “Open the door for someone.” “Help a lost tourist find his or her way.” To me, these didn’t sound like kindnesses, more like common courtesy.
So I looked up the definition of kindness and found; “The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate”. Ok, well, if that’s the definition then, certainly a lot more things fall under the auspices of kindness.
In my online research, I found many lists of ways to be kind
(I’ll share the best ones at the end of this article.)
Most of them shared some of the same suggestions. Things like:
- Pick up litter and put it in a rubbish bin.
- Use a reusable water bottle or cup to help the environment.
- Respond to emails or texts promptly.
- Eat and buy local.
- Hold the door open for others.
- Return a lost item to the owner.
- Smile at people.
I regularly do these things but hadn’t thought of them as being kind. My perception was that paying for someone’s groceries/fuel/meal could be deemed an act of kindness because it involves some forethought or planning.
So that got me thinking a bit deeper
The things on the list above I do without forethought – they’re almost automatic. In fact, I thought almost everyone did those things. If, as a species, we’re not even showing basic consideration for each other and the environment, then how can we expect to strengthen as a society?
Why be kind?
I believe it’s human nature to be kind. It warms the hearts of the giver and the receiver.
It’s natural for us to seek the great feelings we get from performing or witnessing acts of kindness.
But, when we become fearful through watching or hearing about violence world wide, we tend to withdraw into ourselves. We separate ourselves from others and become insular. We stop noticing what other people might need or thinking about how we could help. We listen to the media hype that promotes separation and selfishness; the ‘me, me, me’ mentality that has us striving for the next purchase we believe will bring happiness.
Happiness is inherent in being kind
Kindness affects both the giver and the receiver at a deep level, touching and connecting us through the magnetic energy than emanates from our hearts. Words are not needed. Kindness focuses us on the good in the world. A 2010 study revealed that those who witness kindness are are also affected and inspired to acts of kindness. As Scott Adams said, “Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
So here’s a challenge:
Let’s see if we can spread more kindness in the world by being kind our selves and to one another. The links below will lead you to some suggestions. I’d love to get your ideas for acts of kindness (random or planned). Feel free to email me with your original ideas, and I’d like to know what responses you’ve had to being on the giving or receiving end of an act of kindness.